Agri chief shields NFA from abolition calls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2018 02:46 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2020 02:59 PM

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The proposed abolition of the National Food Authority will not solve a rice shortage in Zamboanga City, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol reiterated Monday. 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian last week called for NFA to be abolished after a rice shortage in the southern city prompted a state of calamity there. 

"It's not the answer. Tigilan na natin itong mga knee-jerk reaction na ganyan. Let's look at this problem from an institutional standpoint, huwag tayong padalos-dalos ng desisyon," Piñol told radio DZMM. 

(Let's refrain from knee jerk reactions like that... Let's not be hasty with our decisions.) 

Rice prices in Zamboanga and nearby areas, he said, would have been higher had the NFA not augmented the commercial supply from businessmen. 

Calls for the abolition of NFA came in the same week that it discovered some 130,000 sacks of government-subsidized rice that were infested with "bukbok" or weevils after its unloading from ships at Subic port was delayed amid heavy rains. 

The grains were fumigated and declared safe for public consumption on Sunday. 

An independent party should investigate the incident, said Piñol. 

"Dapat pa ring may managot sa presence ng bukbok sa bigas na iyan. Ano ang dahilan ng pagka-delay ng pagbababa nito, bakit nag-deteriorate kaagad?," he said. 

(Someone should be held accountable for the presence of bukbok there. Why was its unloading delayed and why did it deteriorate immediately?) 

DZMM, 27 August 2018